“Read it to me, Mama!”

Emmy is only now becoming really interested in books. She’s nearing the age of 3, and with language development on track and with her growing mind full of questions, she is now able to follow a plot line as she scrutinizes every picture.

Last night after her teeth were brushed and her pj’s were on, I told her I had some books I wanted to show her. I went downstairs and found my hardbound copy of Velveteen Rabbit, Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses and a couple others.

She was waiting for me in our reading chair in my bedroom, blanket over her knees. “Whatcha got, Mama?” she asked eagerly when I came in the room.

One glimpse of the Velveteen Rabbit immediately drew her in. “Read it to me, Mama?” she asked.

She knew I would. We also started on page one of A Child’s Garden of Verses. The copy I have has the adorable, color illustrations by Gyo Fujikawa. (There are so many beautiful editions of this book with great illustrators that it’s hard to pick the one I love best, but Jessie Wilcox Smith is another one of my favorite illustrators, and not just for A  Child’s Garden of Verses!)

So we read Windy Nights, Bed in Summer, Whole Duty of Children, and At the Seaside. At this age, reading is sometimes slow going, as children have so many questions. I remember back with Charlie and Sammy on each side of me, and then years later, Will and Mary on each side that even a short book would take a long time to get through – why, what is that, what’s he gonna do, Mama? All of these questions need an answer when you’re 3!

The most popular book right now at our home is The Three Little Pigs, or as Emmy calls it, “The Big Red Wolf.” I’m not sure where the “red” came from, but she can’t read that one enough. She is outraged, every time, when the “big red wolf” huffs and puffs and blows the houses down. She spends time lamenting the ruined little houses and that naughty wolf’s destruction. I softened the story line somewhat so that the little pigs didn’t get eaten up. I figure there’s time enough for reality. But I did not go so far as one liberal version of the book from the library where the Big Bad Wolf ends up hopping out of the stew pot and running off, presumably to terrorize other little pigs down the road. (What a perfect example of liberal thinking. Let the murderous guy loose, don’t put an end to him. Let some other community deal with him! But I digress.)

I just tell Emily that the wolf falls into the hot and boiling pot and “that’s the end of him.” No elaboration is needed at this stage. It’s enough to satisfy the basic justice instincts in the heart of a 3-year-old. The Bad Wolf needed stopping, and he got stopped. (Children are basically conservatives…)

I want to tell you about a beautiful gift Emily received from Tom’s Aunt Marilyn. When Aunt Kris was here, she brought the most beautiful Bible story book I have yet seen. I had just been thinking about buying a new one, as the old edition of Egermeier’s Bible Stories from my own childhood has lost its cover, suffers from a cracked binding, and the illustrations are very faded. Kris brought this beautiful new book on her last visit, and I was so glad to receive it.

It’s called, The Story Bible, and it’s published by Concordia Publishing House. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful. I still remember the illustrations from childhood in Egermeier’s when they were new and vibrantly colored. I can still see Daniel in the Lion’s Den in his golden robe and the fierce looking lions whose mouths were closed by an angel.

I’m looking forward to many hours with Emily reading the Story of all stories, the account of God’s sovereign hand down through history, the story of His love.

There is no more happy place in this world for me than my reading chair with a child’s sweet smelling head under my chin, exploring the beautiful books of childhood. I have a dining room bookcase full of books that I hope Emily will love as much as I did!

9 thoughts on ““Read it to me, Mama!”

  1. Lisa Green Kentala says:

    It’s great you “saved” these books for Emily all these years. I might have a few of my boys best loved books – but most I passed on once my boys outgrew them.
    One of my younger son’s favorite books was a Blue’s Clues book about a best friend moving away. He cried so sadly, every time I read it to him, but it was his favorite book!
    I love your comment “children are basically conservatives” – it’s true! Bad deeds should not be rewarded, and children instinctively know that.

  2. carolyn says:

    “It’s enough to satisfy the basic justice instincts in the heart of a 3-year-old. The Bad Wolf needed stopping, and he got stopped. (Children are basically conservatives…)” Beautifully put. Yes, the truth is definitely in our hearts, we just get calloused over and suppress it in unrighteousness. You’ll have a blessed time explaining the Story to your dear daughter.

  3. Carol says:

    Ingrid, In addition to your great selections have you read The Giving Tree and The Kissing Hand? I think that they have wonderful messages.

  4. Kris says:

    Your reality explanation of reading to Emmy is a beautiful thing.
    A wonderful way to bond with children…Kris

  5. Donna says:

    I’m very glad I was encouraged to read by my Mom and Dad when I was a kid. I liked the “Little House on the Prairie Books”, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Guiness Book of World Records. But I don’t think I read the Velveteen Rabbit or A Child’s Garden of Verses. I might just go out and buy those to read & I’m 42!

  6. carolyn says:

    This is a fun post. I had to think a bit, but yes, I remember the Child’s Garden of Verses. When I was little, we had the one illustrated (I think) by Tasha Tudor. I no longer have it, but I do remember reading it. Along with the Peter Rabbit series by Beatrix Potter. I remember learning the word “soporific” from those books, hahaha, vocabulary building which wasn’t appreciated (by me) back then, but is now. Other favorites – Dr Seuss (nonsensical but fun), Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden (like Donna), Little House, Anne of Green Gables. I had a teacher once tell me that I was “too old” to read Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables, because it wasn’t “mature” enough for me. The school’s idea of “mature” however left much to be desired. Our high school reading list would have made even a marginally modest person blush, with books that had “mature” themes alright…

    In a computer/tv/texting world, reading is a lost virtue. So bravo, Ingrid, for sharing with your daughter the love of reading. Or should I say Ingrid, u r srsly kewl 4 luving bks w/ Em, kwim?

  7. Linda says:

    Reading-broadens our vocabulary and thinking. I don’t remember my mom reading a whole lot to me. She was sick throughout her life because of Scarlet fever that settled in her heart. so I don’t discredit her for that.

    I do remember sitting on the bed with her and learning to color. As I grew up I became very artistic.

    I have to be honest with you and I’m embarrassed but-as I was growing up I used to hate reading it was not a normal propensity. It was not until God saved me that I fell in love with reading God’s word and reading became this instant joy. Now I look back @ 47 wistful of all I missed.
    Yet I don’t muddle in the puddle about it, I’ve taught myself many vocabulary words and I also READ a bunches now along with coffee. Gotta have my coffee.

    I did read some books to my son when he was around 3. Mostly I stuck with children’s Christian stories such as parables for children etc.

    Thanks, Ingrid, for the lovely post and sharing

  8. Frederick Schleter says:

    I’ve been looking about on the Internet after my father passed. Our name was spelled orig.Schlueter but during WW1 my family removed the u to “americanize” the name. I started by looking at the orig.spelling in terms of a family crest and found one. I’m married have a daughter that is starting college and two younger ones still at home. My dad was a state farm agent for some 40 years and my mother was a lawyer. I was a deputy sheriff (retired) and now work on a development team that produces windshields for Mercedes. I have three brothers all older. The eldest is a computer geek, the next is a Dr. In Kentucky and lastly a school teacher. I’ve traced some of our history to a August Schlueter. My family has also has a farm that has been in the family for over 100 years (in Indiana they list it as a family century farm). Sorry for such a long message. I’ve never contacted anyone this way. Just found it interesting looks like you have a blessed life and family. Thanks for reading. Frederick

  9. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Hi Frederick, good to meet another Schlueter (Schleter)! It’s apparently quite a common name among Germans. My husband is frequently asked if he is related to one large family of Schlueters that have an art gallery at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Wrong Schlueter! I guess it is spelled with only a u with an umlaut in German, but it’s morphed into other spellings like yours. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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